Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

I hate salespeople. Not all salespeople. That would be hypocritical of me since I sell scooters for a living. But I hate the salespeople that interrupt business to try to pitch things to me. I don't care if you're selling cleaning products or advertising, you should not come into my store and make demands on my time. I don't come into your living room and try to sell you a scooter do I?

One time a young woman came into the store and tried to sell me some crappy dream catchers to help keep Christian kids off the streets. She seemed a little retarded so I spoke slowly when I told her I wasn't interested. Not five minutes later I was behind the store and I heard her on the other side of the fence talking on the phone. She wasn't retarded at all.

Another time I actually bought some "Green Apple Advanage" cleaner. (Yes, they spell it that way.) I only bought it because the salesperson was a black man who did a little comedy routine about how it was biodegradable and you could drink it and it tastes like apples but gives you the squirts. He said things like, "yessuh" and "nosuh" and his whole song and dance was pretty good. Afterwards I felt bad for falling for it though because he was just acting the part of a subservient southern black man, and it may have worked because on some level I might be racist. That caused me some introspection for a while. So I decided to kick him out just as angrily as I would a white guy next time he comes by.

I've fallen for some pretty stupid stuff over the years, but I think I'm finally getting wise. Salespeople all use the same aphorisms, bad math, and hollow promises to convince you that you should buy what they're selling. If you think it's bad at home, try owning a business. We get telemarketers and door-to-door people all day long. Lately the telemarketers aren't even real people, they're recordings! It's so bad lately that I want to scream. It is interfering with our ability to do business.

Yesterday our fridge broke and I had to go buy a part to fix it. I was the only customer in the store and I had to wait for help because a very pushy saleslady was trying to get the business owner to renew his yellow pages ad. I heard him explain to her over and over that he didn't want to do it. She kept on telling him the same things about how people don't throw their book away, how businesses get a really good return on their investment, and how she'd even give him a discount. Finally he said, "Look, I don't want you to sell me this right now. I just want you to take no for an answer."

She got offended and said, "Okay, if that's what you want. We won't put your ad in this book this year. It's your choice if you don't want your business to grow. I don't have to beg people to be in this book. People want to be in this book. Blah, Blah, Guilt trip, Blah. . . "

She finally left and I bought my part and went on my way.

Later at work, at an extremely busy moment I noticed two guys in ties holding yellow pages books trying to get my attention. I wasn't about to be double-teamed by a couple of pushy douchebags. I had neither the time nor the patience. So I pulled out a secret weapon I've been holding onto for several years, too scared to use it. It's a powerful question that when used properly will allow you to go nuclear on anyone pushing you to do anything. It's so powerful I've always been afraid to use it for fear of vaporizing the salespeople in such a blinding flash of light that their shadows would be printed on the walls of my store.

I approached them and asked if they were together. They said yes. (A twofer!) So I asked them the question:

"Is there a really nice way for me to say no?"

They were taken off guard. A momentary stupor crossed their faces. Then one of them, with a hearty fake laugh, said, "No you have to be really rude."

"Okay then, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY STORE." I said it calmly but forcefully.

"Are you serious?"

"YES."

And that was it. Eviscerated. Disemboweled. Leveled.

I clapped my hands and bowed before employees and customers. "And that, my friends, is how you get rid of salespeople," I said. I was downright giddy. It was awesome!